Training Log – July 24, 2018

It seems I have finally found the motivation to start working on some agility things with Sei. Yesterday he saw his first jump, and it was kind of fun. The problem is that where to start with agility is a huge analysis paralysis trap. What handling system? Handling or equipment introduction? Do I use the class I already have (Shape Up, some equipment, some handling), buy Silvia Trkman’s foundations DVD (equipment/skill focused), buy the FDSA handling intro course (handling focused)? Can I even self evaluate handling in a bronze level class, or would there be a huge benefit to waiting until I can do it at gold (probably)? Can I even justify purchasing something new when there are also equipment costs on the horizon. I only have jumps without wings at the moment, and most foundation agility programs need at least 1 tunnel and some wings. Wings are easily made from PVC, but tunnels and even homemade bags are more expensive.

Should I even be doing jumping? Sei is over a year (15 months), but under a year and a half. When I talked to the ortho vet about agility and jumping foundations last month, he cleared Sei for such activities given his fitness background, the program I had in mind, and that it is not something we train extensively everyday. X-rays were not taken though, so growth plate closure is not known. Is it really any different than the jumping he does in disc? It is probably safer because it is more controlled than disc (whether I should have been doing disc or not is whole ‘nother can of worms I have wrestled with). Does the fact I am doing something that is potentially worse justify doing something a little less risky? That is bad logic!

I decided to sidestep most of equipment and agility specific issues, and work on an FDSA course in my library called Jumping Gymnastics. It is a course focused on conditioning for jumping, and teaching the dog how to jump effectively and safely. All you need is 4 jumps, and some toy skills. Which I would like to think we have! It will be a nice, easy, skill based contrast to the work I will be doing following along with the Boogey-Dog course this semester. I want something that is just going to be fun and not feel like endless drilling with me screwing up, and Sei getting frustrated. Perrin’s love of jump grids have given me a +CER to them, and the course is set up with a focus on errorless learning so I thought it would be a good fit in that regard as well. Today we started with our baseline videos for the set point exercise.

The Set Up

Sei is currently somewhere between 20.75″-21″, so I used a jump height of 20″ as per the AAC rules.  I used one of my cavalettis as the stride regulator, and used distances of 4.5′, 5′, and 6′. We did 2 reps of each distance, for a total of 6 reps. Here is one of each, in real time and slow motion:


The 4.5′ and 5′ distances are too close for Sei. He is taking off much closer to the jump than he lands. The 6′ distance is better, but it is still a little unbalanced. The next time we work on this I will be curious to try a couple larger distances, or use the same distances and a 16″ jump, and see what happens. It is also clear that he is pulling from his front end rather than pushing from his rear. This is the sort of thing that the course is designed to help with through both conditioning and jumping exercises. I also wonder if I was standing a bit too close to the jump and affecting how he was landing (decelerating to prepare for the tug). I will stand farther away next time and see.

In terms of the skills department, I was so happy with our toy skills, hand touches and waits/breaks here! These have mostly been edited out of the video, but I felt good about them. I used hand touches to set him up behind the set point where he needed to be, he waited until I released him every time (although I didn’t push my luck on this part, I kept it at a level I figured he would be successful at, saying ‘tug’ while I was still in motion rather than stopping and waiting first), he drove straight over the jump to the toy (never going around or under the jump, where did he learn that? He saw his first jump yesterday! I certainly didn’t teach it!), outing the toy when asked, the whole bit! Whoohoo! I started out tugging, outing the toy, then taking Sei back to the set point to go again. I realized that the smarter thing to do would be to tug with Sei all the way back to the set point, then set him up. He liked that a lot better! (EDIT: Watching the slow motion video, he did actually break his stay once before his marker. I presented the toy a fraction of a second before giving my cue, and he broke on the toy presentation. I would have never seen that without the video replay).

In terms of smart training, I should consider stationing Sei between reps while I measure and change the set up. Either in a down if I think he can hold it (questionable) or give him a station. This would be a smart thing to work on now to set us up for success in future agility training.

Tomorrow is a long drive back to the farm, then we will be at the cottage for a few days. So we will likely not work on this specific exercise for a few days. Tomorrow I will do some fitness work focussing on the core and rear, and then the cottage days will be full of swimming, so that will be fun and fitness!




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s